Your personal tour guide and private chauffeur will collect you from your hotel lobby at around 9am. Your first stop is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, which pioneered the breeding and preservation of this endangered species.
The pandas are at their most active in the mornings, so you'll have the chance to see furry creatures of all ages eating and playing. At most times of year, you'll also be able to see baby pandas, the center's raison d'être, relaxing in their cots or playing. The landscaped grounds are home to red pandas, black swans, and koi carp, as well as a fascinating museum and exhibits on everything from panda veterinary care to panda diet.
Your guide will recommend some local restaurants where you can enjoy Sichuan specialties: lunch is at your own expense.
After lunch, you can take your pick of your preferred Chengdu sites – time and traffic permitting, of course. Your guide will be happy to advise on what is possible or to manage your time over lunch and with the pandas to enable a longer trip.
Choose from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, which dates back to the third century BC, or Mount Qingcheng, nearby. There might be time to visit the UNESCO-listed Leshan Grand Buddha, two hours out of town, or the Sanxingdui (Three-Star Mound) Museum, home to treasures of a lost Bronze Age civilization, an hour away from Chengdu.
Pressed for time? Qingyang Palace, a Taoist monastery, pairs well with the Du Fu Cottage, the home of a famous Chinese poet more than a thousand years ago – or visit the Wuhou Memorial Temple and stroll down the neighboring Jinli Street.
Whichever option you choose, you'll be back at your hotel around 6pm.